Letters to the Editor: December 18 – 24, 2014
School Quality is Not Unique to City of F.C.
Can commercial development provide funding for public construction in the amount of $138 million, or some $11,300 per person in the city, with no significant increase in the property tax rate? We believe that this is improbable for several reasons, including competing development opportunities in the Clarendon/Ballston corridor, Tysons Corner, and the Merrifield Mosaic complex.
The time frame of five years is a particular burden: There is no development project farther along than the drawing board to cover the proposed investments. Is it reasonable to suppose that the George Mason High School campus can be developed and occupied or other developments arise within five years? The major cost driver is $104.5M for school construction, at least 24 cents on the property tax rate. The School Board has just demonstrated that it accepts no limit on the tax rate, nor any minimum for City staff salaries or for enhanced services. A modest parking garage at the library is labeled “insane,” and the mayor’s moderate suggestion that we “live within our means” is hotly rejected.
We believe that there are two options that merit close study: First, renovate and expand George Mason, rather than build a new high school. That approach at Marshal High recently cost Fairfax $35,200 per student as opposed to the $76,900 proposed for George Mason. Second, emulate Fairfax City, and contract the schools operations to a neighboring district. A contract for this would significantly decrease administrative costs, and, at the same time, could ensure competitive salaries for our teachers.
The singularity of Falls Church City Public Schools is a myth we cannot afford. School quality is not unique to our City: It is almost entirely dependent upon teachers, school facilities and parental support, and, as in neighboring areas, these factors would continue to ensure the quality of education here in Falls Church.
City, Not Winter Hill Board, Responsible For Parking Situation
The story in the last News-Press (Dec. 11-17,2014) about Winter Hill Residents’ Parking was not sufficiently checked into by the paper’s reporter. The target of the article was the Winter Hill Community Association’s Board of Directors, when it should have been the city of Falls Church. I ask that the reader stick with me, as this is a complex story, not fun to read but which must be told to be fair to the Board.
Ultimately, it is the city, not the board, that is responsible for the situation wherein 13 Winter Hill residents have a concrete parking area within their backyard, rather than an assigned parking spot within a common area parking lot as the other numerous residents have. The reason for this disparity is that decades ago, the city allowed a developer to build a city block of Winter Hill townhouses with less than the required parking space, and allowed the backyard concrete parking spaces to be substituted for common area space. The city maneuver allowed the developer to squeeze in maybe two, three or four more homes in the block, and thus make more money.
The block is bounded by James St., South Virginia Avenue and Gundry Dr. The three parking lots behind the townhouses have 13 residents with the concrete pads, but only eight free spaces. As eight is less than 13, it is currently impossible–physically impossible–to treat all pad owners equally by assigning them common area parking spaces within the block.
If the pad owners would accept common area parking on lots outside their block, there would be plenty of parking for them across Gundry Drive. But, even to the closest lots, this might seem to involve quite a walk. It would for me.
The Board plans to have an Advisory Parking Committee appointed (not by itself, but by the Association’s management company) soon to allocate currently unassigned parking spaces to the 13 pad owners. Additionally, it intends to review an Engineering Study, which will look at the parking situation and offer its advice.
Robert L. Appel
Parking in Falls Church is Still A Nightmare
Here’s another comment about the egregious behavior of Falls Church people and parking. I drove to my dentist office on Little Falls Street, parked, and walked across the street to mail two Christmas cards only to hear a man shouting at me that he was going to have my car towed because I left his lot. I told him I was mailing a letter and had a dental appointment in “his” building but he persisted, “you left the lot, I will have your car towed.” You people in in the friendly Little City need to become more aware of human beings and treat people civilly. But you also need to stop polluting the air.
It seems that it is illegal for anyone in this “Friendly Little City” to go anywhere, park and shop and then walk across a street and run an errand, or shop at another merchant. Instead, you delight in micro-managing drivers, forcing us to drive, park, drive, park, drive, park ad nauseam. Each time we restart our engines, we dump more pollution into your air. Shame on you for polluting and double shame on you for not enjoying the money out-of-towners spend in your happy little town.
Thanks to FCNP For Helping Make Fundraiser Succesful
Thank you Falls Church News-Press for helping us get the word out about the Dulin/Out-of-Print Clothing fundraiser that has been incredibly successful in raising money for our school!
I’m glad we have a friendly community newspaper with such a high circulation. I saw that the news desk posted information about our neighbor’s lost cat (who we all hope makes it home safely soon), and I do feel an honest appreciation for the kindness and consideration you show to the people living in Falls Church.
Letters to the Editor may be submitted to [email protected] or via our online form here. Letters should be limited to 350 words and may be edited for content, clarity and length. To view the FCNP’s letter and submission policy, please click here.